People's Republic (CHERUB) by Robert Muchamore

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People's Republic (CHERUB) by Robert Muchamore

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: 13th novel in the CHERUB series and, as usual, there are things to like and things to dislike - real, gritty issues and adventures, but disgustingly bratty kids. You can't knock the success, though!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: August 2011
Publisher: Hodder
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0340999195

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Wow. CHERUB book number 13 is here. New character Ryan is being sent off to California on his first mission. He must befriend the son of a wealthy entrepreneur with links to a prominent transnational facilitator - a criminal organisation that runs illicit transportation networks and smuggling rings. As Ryan says, the Aramov Clan is sort of like FedEx for bad guys. As you can imagine, the mission proves to be a lot less straightforward than simply befriending a boy on the beach.

As Ryan jets off to the US, Nin is in China, hating her ordered, regimented life, completely unaware that it's all about to blow up in her face. Her father is arrested for people trafficking and Nin and her stepmother must flee both the authorities and the bad guys.

As events unfold, Ryan and Nin's stories begin to converge...

What I particularly like about CHERUB books is the choice of issues. These teen agents aren't set against unrealistic Bond-style baddies trying to take over the world. They get embroiled with genuine contemporary issues and they do get down and quite dirty. People's Republic deals with people trafficking and Nin's experience - allowing for a little bit of dramatic licence - gives a really good warts-and-all picture of this awful trade. There's a bit of high-techery and a gadget or two, but mostly, we do get a picture of organised crime as it really is. In this book, I really liked Nin, who is thrown - without CHERUB training - into a dreadul situation and comes through it with some style.

What I like less. Well, I'm not too fussed about bad language personally, or even sexual scenes or the depiction of underage drinking and the like, which these books do serve up. I should mention them, though. I'm not keen on most of the characters. They're all so bratty! And while they are supposed to be children taking on adult roles and this is bound to alter behaviour, often I just find myself thinking but 11-year-olds just don't think like that. And while I don't mind violence as it takes place in the plot, I do feel a bit uncomfortable about child characters being up for it because it's fun. And we do see a bit of that.

Ultimately, though, this is a very popular series for good reason. It presents glamorous teen central characters. The plots are fast-moving and the language is accessible. Readers can follow characters from book to book. This one will be a hit, I am sure.

My thanks to the good people at Hodder for sending the book.

Robert Muchamore's CHERUB books in Chronological Order

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